Pennsylvania-based Jeremy Brady is the National Sales Manager for G Adventures in the United States, a leadership position he earned after four years work in the field, educating agents and selling travel experiences through the tour operator’s large network of travel advisors in the mid-Atlantic region. Today, he applies the principles of servant leadership and noble purpose to coach G Adventures’ nationwide team of 10 Global Purpose Specialists (GPS’s) in outside sales. Together, they have achieved double-digit sales growth while changing thousands of people’s lives through responsible travel.
Prior to joining G Adventures, Brady earned his stripes as a travel agent with Liberty Travel. His youth was largely spent overseas in Europe as part of a military family, an experience he describes as a privilege that sparked his early love for travel.
An avid runner and adventurer who has experienced more than 10 G Adventures tours and visited 40 countries for himself, Brady is a true believer in travel as a force for social good. Egypt and Peru, he says, are the countries that have made the most indelible imprint on his life, so far. He currently resides in Harrisburg with his wife Jenn and their 5-year-old son Lucas.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Hi, Jeremy. How are you today?
Jeremy Brady (JB): Hello! I am doing well. I am returning from my last work trip of the year before we jump into the holidays. It’s been a big year for me in my new role, with lots of new and exciting things happening in the world of G and our industry.
TRO: How long have you been with G Adventures?
JB: I have been with G almost 5 years. I started as a Global Purpose Specialist for the Mid-Atlantic Region, and now I am wrapping up my first year as the National Sales Manager.
TRO: You were a travel agent before going into sales. What prompted this move?
JB: The opportunity to go to the tour side happened when my G rep, known as a Global Purpose Specialist (GPS), popped in my office. My GPS shared G’s mantra of changing lives through travel and it instantly connected with me. I knew that was where I wanted to end up. I even remember saying to myself, “Wow, I want his job,” as my GPS walked out of our office. That same day, I checked the G website and found out the Mid-Atlantic role was posted. I instantly applied…and here we are.
TRO: In only four years of working in the field, you became the National Sales Manager for G Adventures. How did that come about?
JB: I would like to preface this with that I am lucky to be part of a team where many of my colleagues play a huge part and step up to support each other beyond their role expectations. Prior to me being in this role there were many times we were collectively working together to improve processes and provided support for one another and didn’t need a title to go with it. We took ownership of what was needed to get done to support each other with a focus on the impact and the greater good of the team.
Eventually, as the team got bigger, G wanted to avoid having the level of support drop for the GPSs, so we decided to split of the responsibilities of the Director of Sales role. We created a VP of Sales role where we have my mentor, Peter Worthing, focusing on the partnership level and the National Sales Manager role, who’s focus was coaching the GPS team.
I have always had a passion for coaching and knew I would like to step into that type of opportunity if it presented itself. I applied knowing that my focus was to continue being an advocate for our US GPS team. I knew that I could be the voice for the GPS’s to work with our marketing team, and also be able to communicate the GPSs’ needs effectively to our senior leadership team.
TRO: As a well-traveled person yourself, it sounds like you don’t have to do much work in selling the small group adventures that G Adventures offers up. Do you think this passion for travel helps with sales and coaching other sales staff?
JB: Being well traveled does help supplement the work in selling these experiences. What’s crazy is that I am on the lower end of the spectrum, as one of least well-traveled on our team—only 40 countries. Between the 10 GPS’s and myself combined, we are more traveled than any other US sales team in this industry with exotic places under our belts like Botswana, Uganda, Oman, Uzbekistan, Bhutan, and Antarctica to name a few.
If I didn’t have a passion for travel, I am not sure this role or this industry would be a good fit. G allows me to offer opportunities for our team to travel more than any supplier out there. The purpose behind it is not only to help us sell and share the experiences to our agent partners, but rather help us witness the positive impact travel has and help us better speak to our purpose. We say we love changing peoples’ lives and we share that message in numerous trade events; however, seeing it first-hand reminds us of the good that travel can do for this world—if it is done right. It is even more rewarding to return to a destination several years later and see the positive change and livelihoods established. Travel as a force for good is truly a powerful thing and makes you feel part of a higher purpose. Being part of this movement makes my coaching moments that much easier with our team when addressing why we do what we do…
TRO: G Adventures has just about every kind of travel option for small groups, such as family, rail, wellness, active, marine, and even tours that give the traveler a glimpse of how the locals live every day. Which of these are your most popular choices?
JB: There are quite a few with over 700 life changing experiences to choose from. One that we are extremely well known for is Peru, where we are recognized as the largest operator and top Inca Trail outfitter by the local tourism Ministry. Another area in South America we have a strong presence in is the Galapagos. We have both a land-based island-hopping option or five small ship passenger ships to choose from that max out at 16-20 passengers.
We also have a large presence in Southeast Asia, where we have daily departures out of Bangkok and multi-country experiences through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. You can go explore temples, have a homestay in the northern hilltribes, or watch the sunrise at Anchor Wat!
As we continue our partnership with National Geographic with our National Geographic Journeys experiences, our Africa destinations are in higher demand. You can visit places like the Masai villages in East Africa, look for the big five in South Africa, trek for gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda, or explore the beautiful deserts of Namibia to name a few. National Geographic Journeys is one of our more upgraded experiences and ties in exclusive branded National Geographic experiences centered around learning, exploration, story-telling, and fun.
Lastly, if you are looking to get to the seventh continent, our Expedition ship is one of our most popular and top-rated experiences we offer in the market. Come hang out with penguins in Antarctica (a crowd favorite), see some of the most beautiful shades of ice on glaciers, or gaze at stars while camping overnight on the continent. Over half of my team has been on this trip and claim it to be the best trip they have ever taken in their lifetime thus far.
TRO: What are the primary ways and philosophies that G Adventures works with travel agents? How can travel agents learn more about working with G Adventures?
JB: We have been a huge supporter of having the trade sell our experiences. G Adventures is not a commoditized product like a hotel or a cruise ship. There are several components that go into it and we prefer it be managed in the hands of a travel professional if possible. We have even purposely segmented our brochures into travel styles to help our agent partners identify where to place their clients during the qualifying process. It has been extremely helpful for our agents
As for our approach, we have a special name for our outside sales team, we call them Global Purpose Specialists. They have that title because it is their job to empower travel agents and reignite their passion, purpose, and happiness for travel. It is our belief that travel can be the greatest form of wealth distribution and be a force for good if done right. Our travel advisors play a huge role in that change and that is why we call them “Agents of Change”. As leaders in the adventure travel movement, it is our responsibility to remind advisors that what they do matters and continue to elevate that message in our industry to be better.
Agents can join our movement, by registering their agency on our booking portal called Sherpa. It is there they have access to modules and recorded webinars. Advisors can also find out who their local Global Purpose Specialist is on there, which is something I highly encourage them to do. The majority of my team, including myself, come from an agency background and/or has been with G many years. Our goal is to simplify the adventure travel movement and make it more accessible for our agents.
We are also getting ready to release our 2019 FAMs that agents have the opportunity to apply for and experience G first hand. If they are on social media, advisors can join our G Adventures – US Agents of Change Facebook page, which is their go-to for all things G! Great discussions and updates are shared daily to keep them up-to-speed.
Link to Sherpa: https://sherpa.gadventures.com/login/
Link to Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/904688846356127/
TRO: Ramping up sales numbers and maintaining a mindset of responsible travel must be quite difficult. How do you manage this through directing and coaching the specialists on your team?
JB: While numbers are important and do keep the lights on, we focus on the “why we do what we do”. G Adventures as a whole believes that travel changes lives, and it is important that we are able to transcend that message throughout the company. I have been blessed with the people that we have hired on our team prior to me stepping into this role.
A huge part in maintaining the right mindset for our purpose is ensuring we have the right people. We do an excellent job doing this with our hiring process. After a hiring manager wants to move forward with a candidate, we include what is called the “G Factor” as the last interview. This is a culture fit, where we have the candidate interview 3 random employees. If one of our employees presents a red flag, we will not move forward with the hire, even if that manager wanted that person. This helps keep out the brilliant jerks and people that are not purpose driven.
As for my coaching, my bi-weekly 1:1’s with our team revolve around having individual goals in mind; however, I make sure to uncover what is the most exciting part of the job and what makes them happy. We then tie in a goal that fuels their happiness, while keeping the mission and purpose of the business in mind. I also continually remind them of the big picture and what their part is doing to help us achieve that. It brings a sense of appreciation and value, pushing the GPS’s to go above expectations.
TRO: Does G Adventures have any big plans for the near future that we should be on the lookout for?
JB: Oh yes! Definitely! We recently launched our new travel style that no one else is doing in our category and wrapped up our first trip with some key influencers. This travel style is called G Wellness and is built on mindfulness, movement, and nourishment. It has a focus on yoga, healthy food experiences, and wellness-inspired activities that are authentic to the destination. These trips will be launching across 10 destinations starting in May of 2019.
New trips are always exciting and for 2019 we are heading to Senegal & The Gambia, starting trips in Taiwan, doing a standalone trip in Turkmenistan, running a Northern Peru Trip, and adding a National Geographic Journeys trip to Hungary and Romania. We also have added a new Galapagos ship to our fleet called the Eden which is one of our new upgraded vessels.
In June of 2019, we are hosting our first ever global “Change Makers” Summit. Only 15 US agents will be selected to join 60+ agents from around the globe for an international week-long summit where we get to show you firsthand how selling trips with purpose impacts the communities you send travelers to. It will be the largest incentive we have ever done. Check out more information on how you can be eligible on our landing page or reach out to your local GPS. (https://www.gadventures.com/agents/ )
There are big plans for our Ambassadors of Change for next year, and we are extending the terms for our current ones for a project! Be on the look out for more to come!
Lastly, we are also entering our 6th year of G-Normous, which is the largest sales campaign in the industry. From January 1 through April 30, 2019, each G Adventures tour you sell gets you a chance to win some pretty huge prizes—like free tours, cash money, extra commission, and more! If you already have a Sherpa account, you’re automatically registered for G-Normous. If you don’t have a Sherpa account, please check with your manager and get signed up! Be on the lookout for our teaser video this week!
TRO: Jeremy, thank you for your time.
JB: Thank you for having me. I enjoyed the opportunity and appreciate the support for G!